Thursday, December 4, 2014
SiBeFor is a modern alternative rock band based out of St. Petersburg Russia with a sound that is akin to Tool. There style is dark, edgy, and passionate with a twisted artistic aesthetic to take the music to the next level. For those who love to rock and/or just get out of their skull from time to time, SiBeFor creates a vent-worthy narrative in their tracks that will surely align with fans of genres ranging from metal to classic rock.
The band has been touring in northern Europe and has been playing together since 2010. They have plans to release their first album in summer 2015, but have already released a few singles and even a promo music video for the track "Forbidden Fruit." Fans of Tool will definitely appreciate the disturbing visual style of this video as the singer of the the track is dons full body paint and leers creepily at the camera. Between shots of the band we see what looks like a temple as well as many other signs of the bands affinity for magic and mysticism. You can get a peak of the video for yourself in the YouTube embed below.
To find out more about SiBeFor, check out their website at http://www.sibefor.ru. Also find them on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/sibefor and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SiBeFor
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The single, "Beg" is a live rehearsal recording with excellent instrumental performances. The music is a blend of alternative rock from the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and heavier modern rock. There is also a bit of classic rock that can be heard through The Slit's sound influenced by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The vocals are gritty and guttural channeling the angst that is central to The Slit's overall aesthetic. For lovers of metal, emo, and thrash, there is a piece of each in this music. On the flip side, The Slit is simultaneously grounded in older alternative rocks styles of the 90's with a leaning toward heroine lounge psychedelic rock. The track "Beg" is both heavy and deep. I'm sure The Slit's brand of rock is not for everyone, but for many rockers out there The Slit is sure to resonate. Listen for yourself in the embed below. To hear more of The Slit, click over their Soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/theslit or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ComeOnDeath
Friday, November 28, 2014
Xavier Scott presents the latest single, "Freaks Like Us" from his album My Perfect Imperfections
Long time saxophone player, Xavier Scott first picked up the saxophone at age 11 and has now been playing for 30 years. His technical prowess and creative agility are both apparent in his track "Freak Like Us." For the most part, he informed me that he likes to improvise, or in his own words, "I usually just record in one take and see what happens." This is an impressive and dangerous method of recording. It can surely go both ways between amazing improvisations that are captured in the moment or the treacherous pitfalls of aimless meandering. Xavier Scott does a great job of keeping things fresh and funky throughout his entire improvisations. On top of that, he takes the time to layer up his own horn arrangements as backing parts throughout the track. Large saxophone sections carry the progression through a turnaround and help to keep his improvisations moving forward. The execution of this track is fairly minimal consisting of a drum machine and layers of saxophone. I can appreciate the 808 beat that is the backbone of the track. It is reminiscent of a Marvin Gaye sound and keeps the overall feel of the track soulful and danceable while still being relatively down-tempo.
"Freaks Like Us" and My Perfect Imperfections are available online at most digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. Find out more about Xavier Scott on his facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/xaysmusic
Friday, November 21, 2014
Michael Heisel aka The High Cell presents his latest release, The Devil on a Tricycle EP.
The High Cell is a very interesting project, mainly because it is the brainchild of one man, Michael Heisel, and for the most part, his new EP is entirely a product of his own execution. The Devil on a Tricycle EP also features a couple of guest musicians, Davy Knowles on guitar and Adam Berzowski on keys. The overall sound of the album is a blend of blues, rock, funk that sounds like it could have been born in an imaginary town halfway between Cleveland, Ohio and New Orleans, Lousiana. (That wouldn't put you too far from Memphis, Tennessee, which fits the bill pretty well, too.) The production value is so good that it speaks volumes about Heisel's multi-hat wearing prowess as he also was behind the recording of the EP.
The first song on the album, "Another Fine Mess," is one of the more "straight rock" songs on the EP. By that I mean the rest of the album has a lot of influences from blues and funk layered on solid rock foundations. This track fits pretty well into the classic rock genre. The main guitar lick is very reminiscent of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" but the rest of the song sounds a bit more like modern southern rock from the likes of Gov't Mule. Heisel's vocal timbre is an excellent fit for this gritty, riff-dominant style of rock. There is a fantastic solo from Davy Knowles that really slants the song in the blues direction, but it still comes back home at the end. The main chorus is simple and effective and serves very well as a hook that will keep this song in your head for a while to come.
The title track, "Devil on a Tricycle," really got my head nodding. A laid back, in-the-cut beat worthy of The Meters kicks the song off into a classic blues progression. The bass line is thick and funky, driving the beat forward. The guitar is plucky and twangy at the same time making me feel like I'm in New Orleans. The imagery of the lyrics is pretty hilarious and plays into a great metaphor. The bell on the tricycle is the bane of the singer's existence. It's that one little thing that just drives you crazy and this track puts a name on it.
"Tread" is another track that brings in a guest musician with Adam Berzowski on organ duties. Berzowski rips up a lively solo early in the track which really raises the energy of the composition. The song is a slow, blues romp that sounds like it could have been written and/or performed by a psychedelic rock outfit of the seventies. We also get to hear Heisel's harmonica skills on "Tread" followed directly by a wailing guitar solo. The execution on this track is flawless, but it's not my favorite track on the EP just because it's a bit slow and starts to drag some with a play time of 4:29.
Moving into a more North Mississippi brand of the blues, "Small Town Bird" picks up the pace. The song sounds like something Luther Dickinson might write with a stomp worthy blues backbeat and heavy blues riffs driving the progression. The large layers of vocals create an excellent lead part for one of the most well composed songs on the album. The lyrics on "Small Town Bird" bring a very strong and catchy chorus. Heisel does a great job of taking a simple metaphor and turning it into a multi-layered narrative. He does this most effectively on "Small Town Bird" while perfectly pairing this narrative with roadhouse style of blues.
"Rise," the final track on the EP, takes us back toward riff rock, but this track is much funkier than the likes of "Another Fine Mess." Putting the pentatonic scale to one it's best uses, "Rise" plays back and forth between a funky riff and vibing through a blues progression for dynamic play on a very familiar song structure. The short bridge with layers of harmonies singing "riiiiiiiise" is a nice breakdown to the composition, giving some breathing room to the overall flow of the song.
Overall, The Devil on a Tricycle EP is an excellent exploration of the different genres it champions. Michael Heisel gets numerous kudos for his ability to wear many hats for this "band," but it's even more impressive that he has delivered such a focused vision for The High Cell. Check out the album for yourself at Heisel's website for the project at http://www.thehighcell.com
The Devil on a Tricycle EP is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon, and most major digital music retailers.
Sanghera presents the latest single "Hold On" from his album Story of Staying Home.
"Hold On" is a hip-hop track from California based artist Sanghera with a classic sound created by using soulful samples over a gangsta rap style beat. The sultry vocals of a female singer start the track out right, drawing the listener in over rhythm chords of a Rhodes keyboard. The instrumentation of keys, subtle electric guitar licks, and quiet yet large horn arrangements creates a beat that can't be denied. Sanghera's flows tell us the story of taking metaphorical holding pattern in the midst of a developing romance. The cadence of Sanghera's flows are solid and familiar, but his particular enunciations and accent are very unique which makes his vocal timbre sound very original. The beat breaks down at the end, giving a bit more breathing room for a second. It's a welcome contrast to the rest of the beat. I really enjoyed the musical and lyrical elements of "Hold On" giving us a taste of classic sound while also presenting a progressive and conscious style of lyricism.
You can check out "Hold On" and the rest of Sanghera's album The Story of Staying Home on his SoundCloud page at https://soundcloud.com/iamsanghera or in the embed below.
Producers and DJs, head's up! Here is a website we think you might like. Fromthewax.com encapsulates the best from the web from news, music reviews and releases, music videos and even the funny stuff like FAILS. The best thing about FromtheWax.com is that it is focused on the stuff DJs and producers want to know. Check it out for yourself at www.fromthewax.com
Person Natalie & David Lewis Luong present their latest album, Dreamy Lullaby
Dreamy Lullaby is a jazz album with a total of eight tracks, but I will just be touching on four songs from the album.
The title track "Dreamy Lullaby" is aptly named. It's smooth and slow and just very easy to listen to, but I wouldn't call this "smooth jazz" necessarily. Every instrument is real, no midi patches on the rhythm section. Person Natalie is a featured soloist on the saxophone. Her solo comes in the second half of the recording. Her improvisations are very clean, soulful and even a bit playful at times, dancing around the melody. It's a very enjoyable track and one that I would have no trouble dozing off to on a summer afternoon.
The album takes a bit of a shift with "Another Renaissance," while still staying in the slow and smooth category. The progression is a bit more oblique, adding in tasteful bits of unexpected chords. The saxophone solo toward the end is quite interesting as the band drops out for a few measures while the bass and sax dance around each other in a little breakdown.
"Twilight Horizon" stays in the same vein as Dreamy Lullaby with a slow moving progressions and very subtle players in the rhythm section. Every player is very precise but also soft and minimal in their delivery. Piano carries the main rhythmic duties backed by an upright bass and a electric guitar. I unfortunately have no notes about who is playing what instrument, and the information I could find only bills David Lewis Luong as a multi-instrumentalist, so I can't really tell you a lot about the soloists. The tone of the track is very smooth again, but not cheesy like so much of the music that can come from the smooth jazz genre.
A slight change in instrumentation spices things up on "Dusky Mirage." This song opts for a vibraphone feature within the arrangement. A piano is still in the mix to help hold down the rhythm section, but the addition of the vibes adds a nice extra layer to the line-up. This progression for "Dusky Mirage" is a bit spicier but still holds true to the overall vision of "smooth jazz" that holds the album together.
Dreamy Lullaby is a very beautiful and relaxing instrumental jazz album. You can pick up the album for yourself on iTunes or find out more on Person Natalie's website: http://www.personnataliemusic.com/
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Hey Music Lovers,
Here's a new site I was turned on to recently that may be a big help to your career. You've got great music, but we all need to focus on both the creative and the business side of our careers in order to be successful. Tax Twerk offers five free slots each month for a one on one Discovery Session for upcoming artists who need a business plan. You will come away from the session with a step by step business plan created by one of their professionals. This is a great resource for music producers and music business owners. Check out more at @TaxTwerk on twitter and at their website: http://TaxTwerk.com
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Shid Latta presents his latest single, "High"
Shid Latta's "High" is a multi-layerd production, drawing on Hippie Sabotage's remix of "Habits (Stay High)" by Tove Lo for the main meat and potatoes of the beat on this track. Tove Lo's original track is a poignant reflection on "habits" or drug and alcohol abuse rather, as a way to deal with emotional stress. The music video is fantastic as well. Hippie Sabotage, the latest Pandora Radio darling (if you listen to Pandora for anything except metal), has created an excellent reinterpretation of Tove Lo's track with a down-tempo, chill wave, even trap-esque spin for his remix. Shid Latta takes all this wonderfulness and uses it as his backing band for "High." Shid Latta takes the same themes of Tove Lo's track and delivers it in his own flows. It's a much more aggressive approach than either Tove Lo's or Hippie Sabotage's interpretation of this theme, but it works because it's different and genuine to who Shid Latta is as an artist.
Listen to the track below or on Shid Latta's SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/shidlatta666-1/high-feat-tove-lo-prod-by
Mic-Chek presents his latest single "Can't Get Enough" featuring Rey Fonder.
Hip-hop producer and lyricist Mic-Chek out of Colorado did well to team up with Rey Fonder from Miami, FL for "Can't Get Enough." This track is an exciting fusion of hip-hop and modern soul and R&B. Rey Fonder's vocals on the chorus create a club-ready hook for this track elevating it to a catchy and pop-worthy composition. The beat is tight and down-tempo with a nice balance of rap verses and soulful choruses. As a young producer, Mic-Chek clearly has lots of potential to capitalize on as he continues to grow and develop his musical style. His taste in collaborations are clearly on point.
Check out more tracks for Mic-Chek on his SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/mic-chek and listen to the single yourself below.
Sertari presents her latest single "Teardrops"
"Teardrops" is an upbeat and danceable take on a very sentimental subject. The lyrics focus on a story of loss and the challenge of dealing with loss, but the music is very hopeful and uplifting. A solid four-on-the-floor drum beats keeps this tune in the pop realm. In fact, if it weren't for the somewhat saddening subject matter of the lyrics, I could see the song being bumped in the club. Supple piano arpeggios carry the main melodic content of the song's instrumentation with compliments from a full rock outfit. The guitar wails in and out with a nice overdriven lick here and there. The drums are big and full with prominent rolls through the verse and a nice down-tempo breakdown through the chorus. Soaring vocals from Sertari are the main feature of the song. She carries the songs well through the verses with a solo vocal track, but then we get gigantic layer vocal arrangements later as the song progresses into the choruses. Overall, the production value of the song is unquestionably well done. The narrative is beautiful and encouraging to anyone who knows what it's like to deal with the loss of a loved one.
Check out Sertari's music video for "Teardrops" below. Find out more about Sertari on her official website: www.sertari.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sertari
"Teardrops" is available on iTunes and all other major digital music retailers.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Ercy Mirage presents his remix of Ánders - "I Wish"
This remix is a chill and danceable take on Ánders "I Wish." The original track is very minimal with some airy delayed electric guitar, a spacey keyboard track, minimal bass and drums and a flawless vocal. The vocal becomes the star in Ercy Mirage's remix. Keeping the chill and emotion feel of the original, the Ercy Mirage mix is still soulful, relaxing and deep but with more of a backbone. A solid four-on-the-floor drumbeat keeps the track moving, whereas Ánders original track ebbs and flows. The structure of the remix emulates the original with a breakdown toward the end, but the rhythmic elements keep the tempo going even on the outro. The only thing that I could complain about is that the chorus line "I wish you were mine" feels a bit over sampled. Overall, this remix gives the original a run for its money. The two tracks would fit in totally different head spaces: the original, more introspective and thoughtful, the remix, more extroverted and upbeat. Either way, when a remix is able to capture the original soul of a song and channel it in a way that is just as good as or possibly even better than the original, then you have a real successful re-imagining.
Check out Ercy Mirage's Soundcloud page for more of his music here: https://soundcloud.com/ercymirage
Friday, November 14, 2014
Ed Roman presents his latest single "Comin' My Way" off his new album Letters from High Altitudes
I can't decide if "Comin' My Way" is rock, country, folk, or americana, but in the end, it really doesn't matter because it's just good music. This song is a brilliant exercise in songwriting which takes a simple phrase, commonly known, and mixes it with a simple melody to become something much bigger than the sum of its parts. "Comin' My Way" has a slowly building arrangement that begins with just Roman's vocals and acoustic guitar. A bass drum and a huge clap join in with a soft harmonium or accordion and an arpeggiated mandolin filling in the rhythm section. The song fits in well with a genre I like to call "hipster folk" with the likes of Mumford and Suns and Edward Sharpe. But the song is a lot less pretentious and/or manufactured-sounding that either of those groups. This song feels real. I could see myself and friends singing it around a campfire.
This is just one of thirteen new tracks on Ed Roman's newest album Letters from High Altitudes. The styles on the album range widely, which is even more impressive when you consider that Roman plays about 90% of the instrumentation on the recordings. The single "Comin' My Way" along with the rest of Ed Roman's newest album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and his own website at http://edroman.net
DaVinchee X presents his latest album Paranoia of Success
It's not often that an album comes to my inbox and I can genuinely say that I love it, but Paranoia of Success is an exception to that rule. I love this album. It's just the right amount of silly and serious with a majority of the album written about smoking weed, drinking, and getting high in various ways. The beats and lyrics are very reminiscent of the songs from a little group I grew up listening to known as Three Six Mafia, except these beats are updated for the year 2014. Plus Paranoia of Success has a much higher production value than what I was bumping back in 1998.
I don't know that many hip-hop artists who take themselves seriously would want to be compared to Three Six Mafia, but the similarities here are too numerous to gloss over. The lyrics focus strongly on getting high and the beats consist of 808s and demonic sounding choruses and violins with bells ringing in background that could be tolling the coming of the apocalypse. Growing up in Memphis, TN, I have listened to every single piece of music that Three Six and their various side projects have put out. I thoroughly enjoy hip-hop that can create that sense of ridiculousness while still sounding dope enough to ride around bumping. DaVinchee X achieves this balance quite well.
The first track on the album "Summertime 89" does not sound like Three Six Mafia. In fact, the beat is truly original and the opening verses make me feel like I'm listening to a updated version of Snoop Dogg's "Lodi Dodi." I love the glitchy organ sounds that lead the track. It feels like I'm listening to a rap song set inside of a video game. The song is very catchy with affected vocal sound creating the lead melody over the chorus. This one is definitely a hod-nodder, like most of the album, and a great choice for the opening track.
"Treetop" is a classic homage song to our favorite smokable green. The chorus is simple and repetitive but effective. "Weed got me sitting at a Treetop height, a Treetop height," etc. etc. Da Vinchee X names off nearly every strain of marijuana in the verses. The beat is fairly minimal with 808 beats again and little plinky sounds like Super Mario picking up coins that carry the only melodic part of the music. It's a simple song, but for any fan of hip-hop and weed, this track will check all the boxes on your list.
The third track on the album, "Freemind," is a pretty psychedelic trip through a myriad of drug induced musings. This track sounds more like modern hip hop with stuttered arpeggios running through the breakdowns. The beat stays in the down-tempo realm and feels really chill. It's a good listen but not the strongest track on the album.
"Stars" opens with an intro that could be repurposed for the opening of "America's Most Wanted." Spooky synths laced over a sparse and heavy beat create a smoked out, locced out atmosphere for another track that centers mostly around getting high. "Atlas" takes us back to the demonic realm with a dark beat that easily could be on a Three Six album. With a ego-centric chorus touting DaVinchee X as the hardest, this is another formulaic gangster rap sounding track.
"Faces of Pleasure" breaks the mold on this album, offering up a beat that sounds like it could have been produced by Washed Out. A spacey, dreamstep beat backs the verses sounding off about love and sex and, naturally, getting high. I love the sound of this beat, but I fucking hate the sounds of sex laid over the intro and intermittently brought back throughout the track. I understand why the sounds are on the track. It makes sense with the narrative of the song, but I rarely, if ever, have the desire to hear people fucking. To take those sounds and make them a feature of this track just kills it for me. I can't listen to that shit, but that's just me.
We get a more soulful sound led by piano and guitar with nice rock and roll backbeat on "The Want of Will." Violin samples lace the breakdowns in between verses for a nice melodic addition to the overall sound. This track is a bit of a mess with lots of affected vocals and numerous reversed pieces of music popping in and out throughout the track. I listened to numerous times, but mainly just felt like glossing over it in the end. It's not bad, but just not as strong as the rest of the album in my opinion.
"9Figure Android" helps put the album back on track with a more focused, down-tempo sound. The narrative of the lyrics feel a lot bigger than most of the album musing about our place in the world with verses like "I'm gone change the world, or the world's gone change me." The next track, "Addicted 2 Stona," is a perfectly spacey trip through a hypothetical search for some drugs. The only percussion is just a bass drum and a clave. It's wonderfully minimal with a very sparse beat layered over with huge pad synths.
The album is nearly at it's end with "BNT." This track is a nice change to the pacing of the album with a strangely syncopated beat. The melodic elements feature a harp back by opera singers, creepy violins, and a flute. It's a peculiar blend of instrumentation, but it works. If I understand correctly, BNT stands for Bitches n' Tools. And it's my best guess that the lyrics on this track are waxing about the nature of basic bitches and tools, being dudes or people in general who have garbage personalities.
"Eternal Happiness" raps up the album clocking in at over 6 minutes. We return to the 808 drum machine on this track with strangely processed samples composing the majority of music. Yes, there are lots of lyrics about smoking weed. The track actually takes a more upbeat direction after about 4 minutes, and it probably could have benefitting by hitting this change sooner or implementing the same idea earlier in the track. This track does a good job of capping off the album and keeping things consistent, even if it is a bit overwrought.
Overall, I love this album. It's not perfect and it's not particularly deep, but it's great music to chill too and I will have to listen many more times before I've fully absorbed all the lyrics. DaVinchee X's Paranoia of Success will stay in rotation on my list for a while to come.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Chasing Jonah present the latest single, "It Wouldn't Be Right" from their debut album, Prelude.
It should be noted that Chasing Jonah were able to release this album after successfully funding a whopper of a Kickstarter, finishing with a total of $15,000 in funds. The band has clearly found a fan base that is willing to support their particular brand of indie/alternative rock.
"It Wouldn't Be Right" starts off with a sound that falls easily into the indie/alternative rock genre with delayed guitar reminiscent of the guitar tone on any Coldplay song. Ambient swells fill the space behind the guitar to create a soothing intro for a song with a bit more "umph" than the opening might let on. The main verse/chorus structure on the song is carried by a solid rock backbeat with acoustic guitar and Ashley Dudukovich's supple and agile vocals leading the composition. The lyrics tell the tale of a complicated love story. The subject of the song has clearly done everything to stay in this relationship to utter disappointment. Yet, she opts to take the high road, singly "I'd like to hurt you, but it wouldn't be right." The composition lends itself well to a story of convoluted romance with a blend of melancholy and hope in the musical aesthetic.
You can listen to Prelude in it's entirety on Chasing Jonah's Soundcloud, which is embedded below. Also you can find more about the band at their website: ChasingJonah.com.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Hip-hop artist, Viktor Rasiia presents his latest EP The Legend of Natty Bohnz.
The Legend of Natty Bohnz is a captivating EP with a hip-hop sound that harkens back to the 90's with excellent samples in the beats and a lyrical prowess from Viktor Rasiia that never lets up. The EP is a bit of a concept album based around the story of a fictional emcee, Natty Bohz, from days past when "rappers had to rely on their abilities to rap." The intro (produced by Rheezo) is very well executed and really sets the tone for the rest of the EP. I was immediately drawn in by the well written dialogue of what is presumably a teacher informing her students about the legend of Natty Bohnz. This intro is better than nearly any skit I have ever heard on a hip-hop album. The voice actors and the script are excellent. The intro sets the bar pretty high, getting your expectations up for some, well, legendary hip-hop to come. While I fully enjoy 85% of the tracks on this album (more on that later), I feel that the track order garbles the overall message and meaning behind the Legend of Natty Bohnz.
To elaborate, first we hear the "teacher" laud praise on Natty Bohnz and the kids getting upset about rappers obsessions with cars and money, but then we are launched into "Trapped." This is easily my least favorite song on the EP for a couple of reasons. While I don't think this is necessarily a bad track, it just shouldn't be the first full length song we hear on the EP. It's a bit difficult to take the soulful sound of the intro (which is present throughout the rest of the album) and transition into a minimalist, nearly satanic track about "the trap." The chorus is not necessarily very creative and carries a mildly oppressive message. With the repetitive refrain "trapped in the trap," the song touts that Natty Bohnz is going to "take us back to real rap" but for the most part, he just rips on what other emcees are doing poorly. I was not impressed by this song, but if perhaps it had come later on the EP, or at the end, it wouldn't have felt like such a harsh transition.
With that being said, I can tell you the rest of the EP is exactly what I was hoping for: soulful, down-tempo beats with heavy lyrical content, these tracks are worthy of being called "real rap" or as I might called it classic hip-hop. "Oh My" produced by DTZ the Composer, really sets off the danceable vibe on the track and really gives us the feel of what Natty Bohnz is about "a mixture of new and old" in the best possible way. "Get Right" produced by Nascent continues the excellent choice of samples and laid back, in the cut beats. "A Ghetto Tale" produced by LeuNatic is a seriously tale of as you could imagine, life in the ghetto. The beat once again has a down-tempo, soulful feel with soft string arrangements over subtle drums rolls. It fits the overall sound of the EP together quite well. Another track produced by LeuNatic, "Oh No" solidifies the old-school sound that this EP champions. With the exception of "Trapped" the EP could almost be an homage to 90's hip-hop and classic soul music. Viktor Rasiia as a lyricist has nearly endless endurance in his flows. You can tell that each track is a fully fleshed out composition in that there are hardly any moments where Viktor's verse let up. The combo of Viktor's raps and his producers' taste results in a very successful EP. This one is definitely worth more than a few rotations on your jam box.
Check out Viktor Rasiia on his website at: http://www.rasiia.com and on Soundcloud at: https://soundcloud.com/viktor-rasiia
Friday, November 7, 2014
Tasmanian metal rockers Zeolite present their debut single, "Earthmover."
After about a year of playing together and creating recordings out of their own home studios, Zeolite has recorded their first official single with mixing help by Alex Preito of Albatross Audio. They are currently recording their second single, "Astringent" with Dave Venter of Fat Lip studios.
"Earthmover" is a blend of many sub-genres stemming from metal. The band says they hope the listener will draw their own interpretation of their sound and won't try to pigeon hole their sound into any one genre or sub-genre. But they also cite the core elements of their music as progressive metal, melodic death metal and tech metal. You can definitely hear the "tech" elements as the song opens with a gritty downtempo drum machine beat. The intro feels like something that could have been on the soundtrack of The Matrix with EQ sweeps moving the frequency of the drum beat back and forth across the spectrum. Support from atmospheric synths add to the sci-fi feel of the intro until the band comes in full force with shredding guitars and pounding, extremely fast drum beats. Double bass drum pedal is a common tool for metal bands and I'd be very surprised if we aren't hearing one on the drumming by James Howard. Perhaps he just has feet worthy of The Flash, but either way, the drums on this track are not playing around. Very technical and fast, the band truly embodies the feeling that the lyrics express:
"Pent up, neanderthalic actions, furthering nothing.
Maybe it's time, to find another way to validate your existence.
Neanderthalic actions, furthering nothing.
Maybe it's time to find another way to validate your existence.
"Is it so hard to just let it go?
These fragile egos, replusing [sic] correction.
"Well maybe it's time to swallow your pride.
"Unable to articulate your thoughts.
Your fists still sting from making your point.
Left with feelings of regret.
"Where did your empathy go?"
That last lyric seems to encapsulate the entire emotional content of Zeolite's message here. Anger is an emotion that when best used motivates us to do something, to make a difference in our lives. Vocalist Fraser Mainwaring carries this feeling from the lyric content into the sonic realm. Raging thrash-worthy vocals emote the frustration and pain from a lack of empathy. And who can't relate to that. It's all too common in our modern society to cross paths with people that have zero empathy with each other. This social disease, if you will, has resulted in some rather tragic incidents all over the world and Zeolite seems to channel the collective outrage that the societies of our world should feel after so much strife and violence.
The music elements of this song don't vary wildly in dynamics after the intro ends. We are hit with a wall of sounds consisting of big drum rolls, chugging guitar rhythm sections and vocals that would leave me pouring honey on my vocal chords for days. Clocking in at over 5 minutes, it's surprising that the overall compositions actually doesn't feel tired by the end. The band does an excellent job of vibing off each other and keeping the performance alive and breathing together like one musical organism.
With only one official release for Zeolite, there is much to look forward to from this Tasmanian outfit. You can pick up their music online at their band camp site here: www.zeolite.bandcamp.com
And also look for them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zeoliteofficial
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Producers and musicians listen up! All of you using old school music stores, stop living like it’s the year 2000. There is a new system in town and its changing the face of selling music online. If you haven’t seen what Soundgine has to offer then you are severely missing out. Let me cut to the chase, Soudgine players convert more sales and has more features than any other player.
Sexy As Hell
The player itself looks stunning and has an open layout for easy purchasing and a dual checkout system that gives your customers a choice at checkout to pay via Paypal or Credit Card. The internet is a funny thing, if you don’t capture your customers attention quickly then it’s end game for you. When I first saw Soundgine’s “Engine” demo, I was blown away, why haven’t I seen this before?
Selling music online is not easy so you need all the best tools available and the Soundgine service is no exception. First off the players (All five of them) are gorgeous to look at, but they are also customizable. Next, they offer your own website called VUE which is truly the best music layout I have ever seen. You can transfer your domain to it and ditch your hosting fees since Soundgine offers free hosting. VUE is fully responsive and looks awesome on desktops, mobile phones and tablet devices.
Musicians that want a fantastic out of the box solution, get with Soundgine.
Who Can Use Soundgine?
Anybody that has music to sell can use this system. The player has the ability to sell singles, albums and beats. If you enable all features then your earning potential triples. Honestly, if you are a producer and you are not using Soundgine then you are just giving yourself less opportunity to sell your music. They take 0% commission and everything is unlimited. Get paid instantly.
Bottom Line...More Sales
Truthfully, it’s about getting more sales as a producer and this is where this service excels. How so? The player design is set up where a customer can choose to buy a track right from the first screen without drilling down levels. I have compared Soundgine with other players like Myflashstore and Beatstars and Soundgine won every time. My suspect the reason why it converts better is that the flash player automatically converts to mobile when mobile is detected. Also, the ability to have customers buy with a credit card instead of Paypal really gave a noticeable. Take a serious look at this service and it’s features, it won’t take long to realize your earning potential with this service. Align yourself with the best and best of success to you!
Sell Music Online with Soundgine
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Dynamics Plus presents his latest musical release Dynamic Universe Volume 9: Rocket Science in conjunction with the web series/comic book Mark of the Griffin.
This is going to be 2 part review so that I can focus on the music and the visual elements of the Dynamics Universe separately. As this is a music blog, let's first talk about the music. Dynamics Universe Volume 9: Rocket Science is a futuristic hip-hop project with numerous nerd references. The title for the album Rocket Science is fitting. At first, you'd think this name seems a bit derogatory as the normal colloquialism associated with the term "rocket science" is to indicate that something is easy, a la "it's not rocket science." But it's clear that this production is both complex and thoughtful and thus why Dynamics Plus used the term for the album. The first few tracks start out a bit too aggressively for my taste. But once "A Perfect Night A Perfect World" kicked in, I was into this album. Rocket Science has a strong focus on lyricism almost to a fault. As a result of the focus on verses, we don't hear a lot of "hooks" on any of these tracks. There's always a chorus or a refrain of some sort, but I never feel like these resonate and thus they don't embody the true essence of a hook. "Plenty to Say" is an exception with a soulful and sultry female vocal on the track for a true chorus. Dynamics Plus' lyrics are dense, thoughtful and very narrative. Natural storytelling is a big part of the entire composition of Rocket Science. The casual listener may have a hard time getting into these tracks on the first listen. As a result, I focused on the beats and was pleasantly surprised again and again by this album. The beats range anywhere from dance floor electronic to soulful, funky hip-hop. The hip-hop elements of this album are what really draw me in. The last third of the album, starting with "Taxi All is Fair" really has the sound that hooked me on Rocket Science. I fully enjoyed this album for the depth of the narrative, the variety of musical influence, and the technical prowess of Dyanmics Plus' lyricism. Dynamics Universe Volume 9: Rocket Science is available for purchase through the Dynamic Universe website: http://www.thedynamicuniverse.com as well as iTunes and all major digital music retailers.
On top of this album, I also had the chance to read a comic book from The Dynamic Universe collective, Mark of the Griffin issue #1 written by Drew Spence. This story is presented in a web series as well. After viewing the web series and reading issue #1 of Mark of The Griffin, I have to say that the web series is a far superior presentation of this story. The story overall is very well written and captivating, and the one major plus that the comic has over the web series is that as a reader you can consume the narrative with the aid of your own imagination. Reading the prose, which is basically an internal monologue, has a certain effect that you just can't get from watching the web series. The major failing of the comic is the art style. The comic is composed of actual shots from the web series that have some sort of Photoshop effect applied to them. As a comic book nerd, I just couldn't get into this style. I applaud the creators for taking an unorthodox approach and really investing in a multi-media platform for their storytelling, but the comic just doesn't work for me. By comparison, the web series still carries the gravitas of the prose and the production value is just much, much higher. The story basically revolves around one man, Marcus Griffin, as he undertakes a high-stakes heist and has flashbacks along the way to his very first kills. It's a captivating story and well told. If you are interested in viewing it yourself, I would recommend the web series. It is truly quite good. Check the links below.
Mark of the Griffin Issue #1
Mark of the Griffin Webseries:
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Arjun present their latest album Core. A trio of Eddie Arjun Peters on guitar, Lamar Myers on drums, Andre Lyles on bass form the jazz fusion group. This isn't your Herbie Hancock brand of fusion. The guitar-driven group also falls firmly in the rock genre. The sound the band creates is equal parts progressive, cinematic, jazzy and jammy.
"Rocks" starts the album right off in the emotional side of things with a heavy, triumphant intro that leads into upbeat, plucky progression worthy of something Bela Fleck might write. While it's clear that Eddie Arjun Peters is the band's namesake for a reason, drummer Lamar Myers gets a pretty big piece of the action on this track. His fast and technical playing with his drumsticks immediately hooks you into the song. There is some wild variation throughout the composition, but "Rocks" wraps up right where it started. "Deep Impact" is an excellent follow-up to "Rocks." This track digs in and keeps the progressions in minor mode and the performances feel like there's more jamming going on. The rhythm section seems to breathe in sync to the rise and fall of Peters' improvisations. The title track, "Core," has an exciting guest musician. John Medeski (yes, that John Medeski) steps in on organ duties and helps elevate this track to a different level in a couple of different ways. His addition to the rhythm section throughout most the song creates a glue that ties trio together. But alternatively, his solo is a welcome counterpoint to Peters' lead guitar.
"Crystalline" slows the album down and takes us toward more progressive and blues-y territory. "Lavalust" takes no prisoners starting out hot with a funky slap bass intro. This is probably the funkiest song on the album. Syncopation takes the spotlight, feeling like something George Porter or Leo Nocentelli wrote. Things get pretty psychedelic for a minute and the track opens up, giving a chance to feature the drums. This track is an overall down-home, barn burner with great riffs that stick in your mind after one listen. "Within You" feels very much like a jam band. Both the composition's progression and the style of Peters' guitar solos remind of Umphrey's McGee or possibly even Phish. Arjun is a band that fits firmly in the jam band/jazz/soul/funk circuit but they are also more progressive and deserve comparisons to bands like El Ten Eleven or The Sea and Cake.
The guitar work of Eddie Arjun Peters is highly lyrical and that musical property is a high priority to the success of a purely instrumental group. The combo of a solid and expressive rhythm section in the form of Myers and Lyles and the artistic vision and technical prowess of Peters come together to create a very unique listening experience. The aesthetic the band creates will have an appeal to fans of many genres, but these days, aren't we all fans of many genres. It's a testament to Arjun's ability to transcends genres and styles that they understand both their music and the modern listener's taste. They are able to take a combination of many sounds and fuse it into one new sound that remains simple and pure.
You can pick up their newest album, Core, at their website http://arjunmusic.com or any major digital music retailer. Find out more about Arjun and pick up a free copy of "Crystalline" at the following social media sites:
Free download of single "Crystalline": http://www.arjuncore.com
Buy "CORE" album: http://www.arjuncore.com/core
Friday, October 10, 2014
The Joe Wentz Project present their latest album, A Blue State of Mind. This album is a solid blend of rock and blues. While the blues influence is heavy on every song, especially the title track, the rock sound dominates.
The first track, "All I Want To Do" is heavy, jamming rock song. It feels like it should have been cut for an AC/DC album. The title track "A Blue State of Mind" is basically a 5 minute guitar solo. A blues progression worthy of any jook joint holds down the groove and Joe Wentz shreds through the entire song. It's an impressive display of technical prowess matched with soulful expression. "Lost and Found" gives us a more sentimental track. The pace slows down for the first ballad on the album. Things pick up with "A New Horizon." This is an instrumental track that I would almost call cinematic. The progression is a bit more complex than anything else on the album. "Just Go To Him," the closing track, takes us back into ballad territory. This is a heartfelt track with a narrative that elaborates on the idea of loving someone by letting them go.
Overall, A Blue State of Mind is a great escape into a sometimes bluesy, sometimes shred-y trip down rock and roll lane. Feel free to pick up The Joe Wentz Project latest release on iTunes and all major digital music retailers.
Also, you can find more info about Joe Wentz at his website: www.thejoewentzproject.com and on his Facebook page.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Shid Latta presents the single, "How It Is" produced by Evolution MS, in anticipation of his 30 track double album, Love and Other Drugs.
This track is a heavy hitter with an excellent blend of hip-hop styling and modern electronic production. The beat opts for a more square wave sounding bass patch than the whomp-y stuff of dubstep producers. I highly appreciate this choice. It adds a presence to the beat that stands above a lot of the hip-hop AND electronic music that is coming out these days. The lyrics are real and speak on some serious stuff, thus the title "How It Is." As far as I can tell Shid doesn't have any desire to hold back about details of his life in his art. The song may touch on more serious matters, but the overall sound still keeps your head nodding. After several listens to the track, I still found myself getting down to this track. Check out Shid Latta on Soundcloud or any of his other sites and social media listed below:
Sunday, October 5, 2014
San Antonio, TX based F.O.C. present their second independently released album, Color Blind, coming in early 2015.
F.O.C. is an interesting blend of rock music, taking influences from classic rock, 80's shred guitar, and 90's alternative and fusing it all into their own new thing. Their music wouldn't necessarily fit firmly into the classic rock genre but the influences of Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, or Van Halen can be heard throughout this six song album. With that being said, the majority of these songs harken back to the sound of the early 90's heyday for alternative rock and grunge.
The album starts on a mellow vibe, but doesn't waste anytime kicking things into high gear on "Desperation." The opening of this song reminds me of a Jimmy Paige ballad with a subtle acoustic guitar movement that leads us immediately into the meat and potatoes of F.O.C.'s sound. The song picks up with chugging electric guitar and matching bass line. This track is pretty good snap shot of what F.O.C. does well and it serves them well as the first track on the album. "Desperation" is a upbeat and catchy rock song with big vocal arrangements on the chorus and a perfectly placed guitar solo before the final chorus and verse. This is what F.O.C. is clearly setting out to create and the track is a great way to set that mood to carry us through the rest of the album.
The third track is a cover of Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way." This is the only cover on the album but it's an excellent feel for F.O.C. The band gives an updated take on the instrumentation while still maintaining a nostalgic 80's feel. While the original song is something closer to new wave, F.O.C. takes their version about 10 years into the future losing the synth-y sounds and letting the guitars do most of the heavy lifting. When it comes to an album, I would have to say I am the most critical of cover songs, but F.O.C. soundly pulls of the cover on this album.
"Summer of No Regrets" is a great example of how F.O.C. blurs the line between classic and alternative rock. The rhythm guitar drives the song with a feel that is reminiscent of a Foo Fighters' song while the backing vocals, cascading "ahh ahhs" reminds me of something right out of a Tom Petty track. The lyrical content here is also more similar to a classic rock song than alternative.
The following song, "Sleepwalker" falls much more firmly into the alternative rock category, with a heavy, thumping bass line leading us into the song with a highly affected rhythmic guitar falling in soon after. The track reminds me of early 90's alternative rock that I love. The drum beat holds the song together as the rest of the instrumentation bounces from driving and upbeat to sparse and moody. The chorus on this song isn't quite as strong as some of the other songs on the album like "Desperation" but it still has an interesting and relevant narrative.
"Love Sex" is one of the best riff-based tracks on the album. From the very start of the song, you're pulled in by a tight and catchy riff. The lyrics are not my favorite here though, at least through the verse. The phrase "love sex letters" just feels a little forced. But the chorus is quite excellent in lyrics and performance. The outro of "Love Sex" is one of the more dynamic parts of the album with some pad synths coming in and everything just kind of spaces out for a bit. It's a great lead in to the final track "Whisky + Wine."
The band really shows us another side for the first time on "Whisky + Wine." This is the first and only time the album really slows down with a ballad-worthy composition played on the acoustic guitar. The track is mostly an outro for the album, clocking in at only about a minute and a half, but ending the album on this track is a bit of a double-edged sword. It's the first spot in the album where the music gives us some breathing room, and I feel myself waiting on the rest of the band to come in with the guitar, but it never happens. It leaves us wanting more. And that's not a bad thing. Here's to another play of Color Blind.
Stay tuned to F.O.C.'s Facebook page for more news about when their second album will be available for purchase in early 2015.
Friday, October 3, 2014
This might sound like a strange comparison, but I like metal for the same reasons that I like jazz. Both of these genres appreciate the level at which an artist can perform more than almost any other aspect of the music. Jazz musicians are know for their chops, their technical skills, and their deep knowledge of every part of music theory. This is also where seasoned metal musicians shine. Guitarist Xander Demos has chops for days. His technical prowess is undeniable, but I also believe that his artistic vision for his sound is what makes Guitarcadia stand out.
I usually have a hesitant approach when it comes to metal, because so much of metal these days falls into the death or emo-ish sub genres. But Xander Demos' particular flavor of metal is anything but dark. While it could be called serious and possibly epic at times, its a triumphant sound that is honestly more uplifting and just straight rocking than anything else. Surprisingly, much of this album is based in major chords and progressions. This was a really pleasant change from the norm. I found Xander's sound to be a blend of prog rock and hair metal in the most delightful way. I say prog rock because Xander's guitar lines are always very fast and complex. In fact all the compositions for the most part are pretty complicated. On top of that, the progressive rock sound of Yes or Rush can be heard in the accenting instrumentation of mono synth solos on a few different tracks. The guitar tone constantly has distortion and overdrive on it, but not in a grimy way. The overall guitar tone is fiery yet clean.
This is a dense album with 10 tracks that often come in at way over the 5 minute mark, but the content really lives up to the name Guitarcadia. From the first note of the first song we are being dropped head first into a landscape of guitar, and it's excellent. The longest song on the album, "Under a Darkened Sky," is one of my favorite original songs. I love this track because it's huge and epic. It reminds me in subtle ways of the artists who gave metal it's name, Led Zeppelin. While this song really doesn't sound anything like Zeppelin, the narrative of the lyrics gives me that feel of an epic story. Nostalgia for 90's video games is strong when listening to this composition as the rhythm guitar harkens back to F-Zero and the wailing lead melodies remind me of Mega Man X.
Another one of his originals that really stuck me was "Woodshed Sonata" as it was one of the few times on the album that the tempo dropped and gave all the instrumentalists some room to breathe and bounce around the composition. Additionally, I am a sucker for Back to the Future, so when a sample of Marty McFly kicks in saying "watch me for the changes and try to keep up," I lost it. It was a perfect transition out of the down tempo portion of the song back into a wailing finish.
It may feel like a cop out, but my favorite songs on this album are the cover songs. The cover songs work exceptionally well, because the songs structures force Xander to reign in his skills to fit the overall composition. This is when we actually get to feel a bit of contrast between the amazing technical skills and the more subdued artistic choices that really make an artist worth listening to. It's hard not to love Demos' cover of "Boys of Summer." I think that I would say this is my favorite song on the album. This cover is an interesting choice, but it makes a lot of sense. I feel like music from this era is a major influence on what Xander is creating in his music. To hear this song covered by him somewhat encapsulates all the different influences I can feel flowing through his music.
The final track, "Lady in Red," really caught my attention as it is the only song that uses a drum machine. The choice to use a drum machine makes sense as it recreates the same feel as the original song, but here it was especially refreshing as it opens up the sound of the album for the first time. I think Xander Demos could definitely open up the overall sound of future albums by taking some risks with more decisions like this.
You can pick up Guitarcadia on iTunes and all major digital music retailers.
You can also find more fro Xander Demos at his website www.xanderdemos.com, his Twitter, www.twitter.com/xanderdemos, his YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/xanderdemos, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/xanderdemosmusic.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Marshall Dane's latest album One Of These Days is infused with some of the best aspects of classic country music that is so rarely present in the modern country music of our times. Too often country music is watered down and/or highly over-produced to play to a mainstream audiences. On top of that, the lyrics of modern country music are too often cliched, stereotyped, and just unoriginal. While this album still sounds very produced and polished, the "shiny finish" of the recordings doesn't detract from the exceptional heart and soul that Marshall Dane brings to his compositions.
Another side of this album is the rock edge that comes through so much of the excellently performed instrumentation. The first track on the album, "Take You Home to Mama," is immediately reminiscent of Bob Segar or CCR with a guitar riff worthy of any of your favorite classic rock songs. Marshall's crisp and strong vocals are backed by an impressive set of harmonies at the very first note and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. It should be noted that Marshall is a Canadian artist which results in an unexpected voice for country music, one that has just the right balance between twang, rock n' roll and soul.
"Stay Up Late" has lyrics that fall a bit too far on the "mushy" side of the spectrum for my tastes, playing somewhat like a rom-com for country music fans or country's answer to "Your Body is a Wonderland." That being said, the composition and and melodies are very infectious. As soon as the melody kicks in, it's pretty hard not to fall in line with this upbeat and romantic tune.
The title track, "One of These Days" is a very hopeful and powerful ballad with a carpe diem like message. The title is a bit misleading as you would think they're using this trope as a common colloquialism, but instead, the lyrics are saying that today, right now is "one of these days." It's a clever usage of such a common figure of speech, turning it on it's head to mean something totally different.
"Alcohol Abuse" is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is essentially a spin on Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere" but instead of places, Marshall does a superbly entertaining job of listing every type of cocktail or alcoholic drink in existence.
"Work It Out" is one of the more soulful tracks on the album channeling some of my favorite artists like Otis Redding or Al Green. Clearly, the sound is much more of the country influence than either of those artists, but the lyrics, the instrumentation, and Marshall's subtle crooning on this song set it apart from much of the dominant sound (country and rock) on this album.
Overall, this album still has a bit too much material on the sentimental side to stay in rotation in its entirety for me. But there are a few stand out songs like "Take You Home to Mama," "Alcohol Abuse" and "Work It Out" that I would revisit again and again. Marshall brings soul to his particular brand of country and it really makes this release stand out in the saturated market of modern/pop country coming out these days. I love that Marshall doesn't need to lean on twang to do country his way.
Marshall Dane's One Of These Days is available on iTunes and all other digital music retailers.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Singer and guitarist D.B. brings us his latest single, a blues rock song, "Goin' Full Speed." The track was recorded in August at a studio in Vista, CA and is now available on CDBaby, iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody and pretty much every other digital retailer.
"Goin' Full Speed" has a simple narrative, but one that is effective. Essentially, it's a love song with an extended metaphor saying that this love makes the singer feel like he's really moving fast. It's easy to get into the groove of this song. The selection of instrumentation really creates a solid sound that is uplifting and gets your body moving. Overall, this is a feel good song, one that invites you to lay back in the cut and let go of your worries as D.B. takes you on a trip through a story of amazing love.
If you're looking for a track that brings back that classic blues rock sound, that will get your head nodding and your feet tapping, "Goin' Full Speed" will be a great addition to your music library. Head over to CDBaby.com to pick up the track for just 99 cents. Also available online at almost every digital music retailer.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Jiggley Jones presents his debut album from Lamon Records, A Mountain, A Struggle, A Tunnel, A Light.
While this may be the first proper release from Jiggley Jones by his label, this musician brings many years of experience in his playing, songwriting and lyricism that make you feel like this "debut" has been long overdue. With Dave Moody, president of Lamon Records and a grammy nominated artist producing the record, you can hear the high production value that you might expect from a Nashville-based label. The instrumentation on this album prominently features Jiggley's acoustic guitar accompanied by a simple trio of piano, bass and drums on each song. Occasionally we get added accents like affected electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro (or lap steel), orchestral string arrangements and upright bass. While it's obvious that Jiggley has the guitar chops to stand alone here, and I have to imagine he often gigs as a solo singer/songwriter, the added players on this album really bring Jiggley's compositions to life in a wholly different way.
For comparison, you can hear the highlight track from A Mountain, A Struggle, A Tunnel, A Light, "Walk On Me," as a solo performance in the YouTube video embedded below.
"Walk On Me" Solo Acoustic performance by Jiggle Jones during CMA Festival 2014:
Then you can listen to the studio version on the official music video here.
"Walk On Me" Official Music Video:
For me, the solo acoustic version carries a bit more visceral emotion when you hear Jiggley carrying the tune alone, but the studio arrangement for "Walk on Me" really highlights the talent that Dave Moody brings to the table. The resources of such an amazing music city like Nashville are not lost on the production values put to use on this album. The additions to the tracks seem simple until you really break them apart and hear how many different pieces were added. I could easily called it that "Nashville sound," but the producer's touch is much more subtle here. I would have to imagine some great A-list musicians were brought in for the sessions on these tracks, but I think that may only occur to the analytic ear. For the passive listener, the instrumentation and the arrangements are designed in a way that let Jiggley's songwriting and his voice breath throughout each song.
"Walk on Me" is the breakout song on the release, but there is still so much more to offer on A Mountain, A Struggle, A Tunnel, A Light. While "Walk On Me" is a darker song with deeper narrative, the rest of the album brings touches of jazz and rock within Jiggley's americana sound and more light-hearted narratives.
"Look What I Found" shifts the album into a jazzy, meandering composition about luck and love. As love songs or ballads can go, I'm glad to hear a track without the cheese. This composition feels real as Jiggley expresses how love sometimes just finds you in the least expected places. This narrative resonates with me, because so many times in life we don't have that perfect love story. We find our other half by living life and then, out of nowhere, there they are. The Wurlitzer-sounding electric piano in lieu of traditional acoustic piano gives this song a different feel than much of the album and feels more comfortable in that "jazzy" category.
"Hope In a Bottle" takes the album in a nearly evangelical direction. While the message is uplifting and and spiritual, it fringes on sounding like a religious song. Maybe I misinterpret the narrative, but lyrics like "praise the lord" and "open up your heart now and pray" just strike me as something I would hear at a progressive Sunday service. I don't mean to take a stance against that type of music, but the rest of the album strikes me more deeply than the lyrical content of this song. Unfortunately, after a few listens, I have to pretty much just gloss over this song.
Track four is similar in tone and narrative as the last song, but it strikes me as more genuine. Jiggley sings about how there is "Nothing So Natural" as the love of a parent for their child. This narrative of love sends a similar message in hopefulness and optimism that "Hope In a Bottle" tries to transmit, but somehow it works better. I think it's simply Jiggley's choice of verbiage that feels more natural (no pun intended... well kinda intended).
"Early Morning Light" surprised me by how easily the chorus became stuck in my head. Even days after listening, I found myself humming the melody of "Early Morning Light." This track is mellow and unassuming at first, but I think that is part of it's strength as a composition. The simple instrumentation of acoustic guitar, piano, and upright bass give this track a lot of breathing room. I feel the space within this recording is it's greatest strength. Jiggley's voice is allowed to shine with just the most subtle accents and accompaniment. The effect is resonant and it sticks with you long after you listen.
The final track, "Man on the Run" gives us our largest dose of rock within the americana palette that Jiggley champions on this release. This song creates a good deal of momentum within the overall landscape of the album and leaves you wanting more. This is one of the only tracks on the album that carries a solid backbeat throughout and feels like it could be played with a much heavier tone than is recorded here, but it still fits within Jiggley's overall sound. If the album were any longer, this would be a great launching point into some more traditional rock songs or jam-worthy compositions. But, in the end, it's also a great point to leave the listener hanging. With the bookend of "Man on the Run," the album feels like a real progression. And once it's done, you kinda just want to hear some more Jiggley songs.
As a "debut," A Mountain, A Struggle, A Tunnel, A Light is a nice little porthole into the world of Jiggley Jones. The album gives us a very professionally framed serving of the years of experience that Jiggley brings to the songwriting table. While most of the compositions are thoughtful and very well played, the biggest miss on this album is the lack of composed endings for these songs. Nearly every song carries out through the verse or chorus to a nice little fizzle. The musicians hold out a chord or Jiggley lets the last note of the melody carry over into silence at the end of almost every song. As a whole, this may be the only downside of this album: the lack of a clincher. We're always left wanting a little more. But, maybe this is a good thing, because if Jigglely's past is any indicator, there is surely much more to come.
You can find Jiggley Jones - A Mountain, A Struggle, A Tunnel, A Light on iTunes.